Are Black Cats Bad Luck?

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According to some old wives tales, black cats are seen as omens and symbols of bad luck. Coming across a black cat is thought to be a sign that bad things are about to happen. But while our superstitious selves like to believe in things like this, are black cats bad luck?

There’s probably no way to change your mind about this myth/fact, no matter how you feel about it, but we thought it might be fun to unpack the mystery and learn if these things are really true. So, this article will unpack the origins of the myth that black cats are bad luck.

» You might be interested in How to Get Rid of Matted Cat Fur.

are black cats bad luck

Where Do These Stories Come From?

Everyone at some point in their lives has probably heard that coming across a black cat is bad luck. As a kid, these stories were passed around along with the classic signs of bad things about to happen, such as ‘breaking a mirror’ and ‘walking under a ladder’.

But where do the stories of black cats come from? Well, it seems that the stories start way back in the Middle Ages.

A folklore about a man and his son tells the tale of the two throwing rocks at the cat. When the black cat limped away, it went into the cottage of a woman who was believed to be a witch. The next day that woman was seen limping and bruised around the town which led the townspeople to believe the witch could disguise herself as a black cat.

Black cats have been associated with witches for a long time! And even nowadays on Halloween people put out decorations of witches and their black cat companions.

Black cat on a sidewalk

The Truth – Are Black Cats Bad Luck?

Black cats aren’t bad luck. They’re just like any other cat breed. And yet they’re treated differently because of the superstition. So it’s important that we dispel this myth and start treating black cats like everyone else.

In fact, there are many places where black cats are actually said to be good luck. In a lot of places and cultures, they’re actually a symbol of good luck and prosperity.

In Japan black cats are considered hugely lucky, especially for the single ladies, who they supposedly bring many good suitors.

According to, “English sailors believed that having a black cat onboard was a good omen and fishermen’s wives used to keep a black cat at home because it was believed to ensure their husband’s safe return. If a British bride saw a black cat on her way to the altar it was said she would have good luck.”

Another thing about black cats is that they are very loving and attentive, just like other cats. They’ll cuddle up to you, they’ll rub your legs as you’re standing, headbutt you, and they’ll keep you company at the computer.

black cat by computer

Why This Superstition is Harmful

The stigmas surrounding black cats led to mass killings of cats in the Middle Ages. Many people were trying to rid the streets of their towns and cities from the bad omens that black cats were believed to be.

Even now, black cats are treated worse than other colors of cats. Studies have found that black cats have a 50-75% less chance of being adopted out of a shelter than other types of cats. And at any given time, approximately 30% of a shelter’s population will be black cats.

These cats are left in shelters for longer simply because of a superstition that started hundreds of years ago.

Acts of violence against black cats is also greater than it is for any other cat. They are more likely to be victims of human aggression, especially around Halloween. During the days leading up to Halloween, and the holiday itself, if you own a black cat try to keep it indoors for its safety.

a black cat

Kindness to Black Cats

Personally, black cats are my favorite. They’re beautiful, sleek, sweet creatures who deserve love. Obviously I’m slightly biased because my cat is black herself. If you’re adopting a kitten, please heavily consider taking home a black cat so that they don’t have to sit in the shelter any longer.

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Conclusion on Whether Black Cats Are Bad Luck

Black cats aren’t bad luck, it’s just an old myth. They’re snuggly little beans just like any other cat, and should be treated equally and with kindness. Consider adopting a black cat the next time you visit your local shelter.


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A black cat sitting on a wall

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